Dreaming Spies (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes)
by Laurie R. King
Review by Gayle Surrette
Bantam Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345531797
Date: 17 February 2015 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell return home to find that in their absence a large rock was installed in their garden. It was delivered by several oriental looking men. The message left for Holmes was 'he has a chrysanthemum in his garden'. Checking the rock out from another angle, they realize that it is from Japan and a gift for helping with a sensitive issue that occurred the year before. For Holmes and Russell, it recalls the previous year when they visited Japan while traveling.
With her mind full of thoughts of Japan, Russell's not as surprised as she normally would have been when she finds an intruder in her Oxford residence, bleeding on the floor and asking for help. With the hook set, the reader is then taken back to Bombay, where Holmes and Watson have boarded a ship to take them to Japan. They've finished a case and decided to have a bit of vacation on the return journey.
As you'd expect, boredom is the biggest issue with travel via ship. Holmes shortly believes he has recognized a blackmailer that had been involved in an earlier case of his. Russell is willing to let him investigate and she even helps out a bit but, she's more concerned about a woman who boarded ship and then disappeared without a trace.
Eventually, you know that these two separate cases are going to tie together, with the helpful young Japanese lady returning from America who they hired to teach them Japanese customs and language during the voyage.
King, once again, manages to bring Sherlock Holmes to life while maintaining the characteristics and mannerisms that Doyle imbued his consulting detective with; while also giving him a companion and wife, Mary Russell, who is a perfect match for his intellect as she complements his weaknesses. There's mystery, danger, and misdirection enough satisfy those who loved the original canon. King plays fair with the reader and it's much easier to follow along with Holmes and Russell as they pull information together to find the solution and if you don't figure things out you can reread and see what you missed. Russell is not Watson to Holmes, she's a full partner who is just as perceptive, thoughtful, and observant as her husband.
This series continues to delight with adventure, thrills, and danger while allowing readers to travel along with two of the most interesting characters a reader could hope to spend time with.